Laatste update op 8 May 2020
The church Chiesa Madonna dell’Orto is located in the district Cannareggio. It is often overlooked by tourists, but if you know how to find it, you are in for a treat. The featured image of this post is the small harbour of Cannareggio, quite near the church.
Originally this church was dedicated to Saint Christopher (see Christophorus). And this is actually not that strange if you realise that he was the patron saint of travellers and that ferrymen could help travellers to cross to the mainland from this church.
However, the name changed in the late 13th century. This was a special name change, as Madonna dell’Orto means something like Madonna of the Kitchen garden, as Orto means kitchen garden. Now how did this happen? In the kitchen garden next to the church a statue was found that was probably washed ashore during aqua alta. The Madonna-statue which was probably discarded by the maker,was adopted by the monastry of the church. It was believed that the statue possessed healing powers. It can still be seen in a chapel of the church today. Other stories say the statue was disposed off after being rejected by the Prior of the Santa Maria Formosa, or it simply fell out of the sky into the kitchen garden. When it started glowing and working miracles, the church bought the statue and put it on the high altar in the church on 13th June 1377. From then on the church would be Madonna dell’Orto
The Chiesa Madonna dell’Orto was built halfway the 10th century by the Humiliati. The architect, Tiberio da Parma, is buried in the church. But that is not all. Besides the statue and the grave of Da Parma, you will also find the grave of the famous painter Tintoretto in this church. In addition there are two of his paintings:
– the last judgement
– worship of the Golden Calf
In the apsis there is the painting ‘Beheading of Christophorus’. So, there is still a small reference to this saint, who can also be found at the outside of the church, above the entrance, carrying God on his shoulders.